Couple spins old vinyl into jewelry

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A piece of vinyl jewelry made by Jason Holley and Rosalind Ford. Submitted photo

Unfortunately for Jason Holley and Rosalind Ford, vintage records by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones don't end up in people's trash.

"If we find good records, something tells me we'll keep them or pass them on to someone who'll appreciate them. It's more of society's leftovers that we're working with," Holley said with a laugh.

Holley and Ford are the Crafty Privateers, who sell a line of jewelry made from old vinyl records. They're a real-life couple who met in a natural-dye class.

Both Holley and Ford are artists, jewelry-makers and all-round crafty people individually - Holley produces jewelry and clothing in chainmaille, while Ford, a bird biologist, makes dolls and woven silk and silver jewelry using natural fibres and dyes. Both sell their products around the city.

"Roz and I had been looking to do some work that's neither mine nor hers," Holley explained. "Environmentalism was a theme in what we were looking for, so we were looking for materials to re-use and re-purpose.

"I'd been seeing a lot of people using old vinyl records to make purses, and heating them up to make bowls and that sort of thing, so it just seemed like something to play with."

Old records

The couple visits charity shops and yard sales in search of old records - the thicker, the better. They then take them home and, using paper patterns they've designed and made, cut pendants and earrings out of the vinyl using a scroll saw with a special blade.

"The biggest thing is protecting the surface," Holley said. "There's no point in using vinyl if you don't keep the lines that catch the light."

So far, Holley and Ford have made bird-, lightning bolt- and anchor-shaped jewelry, as well as a line of stylized hearts, which they sold for Valentine's Day. They'll play with any shape that comes to mind, Holley said. They sold the jewelry at the recent Fresh Fish craft fair at the Masonic Temple, and regularly sell the pieces at Model Citizens on Duckworth Street. Prices start at about $14.

The most popular type of record used to make the jewelry?

"There's been a disproportionate amount of religious and gospel and classic records," Holley said with a laugh.

So far, business is good.

"There's an awful lot of environmental guilt, I suppose, from jewelry making. Most of it relies on precious metals, and I've been hearing an awful lot in the news the last little while of all the bad impacts of gold and silver mining," Holley said. "I've been trying to source second gold and second silver; stuff that's already been mined, melted down from old jewelry, with varied success. It's basically made me more aware of the impact that can have.

"When you're re-using something, rather than even recycling it, there's no detrimental effect. Even if you just keep it out of the landfill for a little while, you've stopped the production of the piece from new materials, so you've prevented an awful lot of resource use.

"It's fun, and it's more satisfying, in some ways."

Organizations: The Beatles

Geographic location: Duckworth Street

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Recent comments

  • Shyloh
    March 16, 2011 - 14:08

    That is a very creative use for vinyl records. Do you ever tell people whose album they are wearing?

  • Ev
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    I have a few thousand 45s I'll sell you cheap.

  • David
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Still the best sounding way to listen to music!

  • Ev
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    I have a few thousand 45s I'll sell you cheap.

  • David
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Still the best sounding way to listen to music!